Alex Ovechkin scored a team-high five goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals lost the first two games at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets but stormed back with four straight wins to close out the series, moving on to the second round where the Pittsburgh Penguins await them for the third year in a row.

As usual, expect the stars to be out in full force. Washington winger Alex Ovechkin led his team with five goals and the Penguins Sidney Crosby finished his series against the Philadelphia Flyers with six goals and seven assists. Both teams also have depth: 10 Washington skaters and 11 from Pittsburgh had at least one goal and one assist in their respective series.

The Capitals’ chances at winning the Stanley Cup rise from 6 to 9 percent while the Penguins chances dip slightly from 14 to 13 percent.

Our postseason probabilities are based on the win rates that fuel our weekly power rankings and take into account a team’s actual win-loss record; its expected win-loss record based on goals scored and allowed, also known as its Pythagorean winning percentage; and its expected win-loss record based on expected goals for and against, a metric created by hockey metrics website Corsica, which takes into account the likelihood a shot becomes a goal based on distance, angle and whether the attempt was a rebound, on the rush or generated on the power play.

As the Stanley Cup playoffs unfold, we’ll provide updated win probabilities for every team in the postseason. We’ll update these odds at the conclusion of every series, so you can see whether your favorite team (or most-hated rival) is in position to hoist the Cup or be sent home earlier than expected.


More on the NHL:

Is this a dream? Capitals and Wizards have combined for six straight playoff wins

Well, the Caps sucked me in again. I should know better, but I guess I don’t.

Chandler Stephenson’s breakout moment comes at the perfect time for the Capitals

John Carlson continues to build on a stellar postseason reputation